No Affiliation Alliance

The history of the American Election Process Part II

Introduction
Last week our show focused on the open election systems being used by 38 states. In comparison open elections common goal is to allow independents the opportunity to participate in the selection of representatives but only if the independent voter is willing to submit to designating a party preference in an Election Day primary registration which is the criteria of an open election process.

So let’s make a quick review of last week show which we ran out of time and still had much more information about the history of the American election process. I managed to reach the Civil War era and until this time the election process went from a caucus to a convention.

The introduction of party began to change the voting system from appointment to popular vote. The voting requirements went from strictly the elite and began to accept common people – The former system of white wealthy land and business owners changed to white men that were literate and born citizens.

The requirement to register to vote began after 1804 but did not require a party designation because at that time there was only one actual party – the Democrat-Republican Party conceived by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Party designation was not a requirement until the 1900’s and Primaries elections – that were a design of the progressive movement to bring the election process to the people – were not a common practice…so let us begin.

PART II

The formal, legally regulated primary system is particular to the United States. The earliest method for nominating candidates was the caucus which was adopted in colonial times for local offices and continued throughout the 1800’s for state and national offices.

Party conventions were instituted beginning in 1832 with the Whig Party as a means of checking the abuses of the caucus system. But after the Civil War the convention system became more party oriented and also became subject to abuses. It was the divisiveness and corrupt nature of party agenda and organized party dissensions that created the need for state regulation and this led to the elimination of party primary for most offices except president and vice president.

After 1890, mandatory state enforced regulations transformed the primary into an election that is conducted by public officers at public expense. At this point the parties lost exclusivity of the Primary election because it became a public election event. This is why I don’t support the open election process. The state that have open elections are creating a constitutional provision to include independents to vote in the primary election – BUT – it’s the parties that decide who will vote. The open election process is an end run scheme being perpetrated by the national parties with the purpose of diverting independents from achieving exactly what I am proposing – which is a constitutional compliant closed election process with an exclusive independent ballot of independent candidates.

Although direct primaries (closed Conventions) were used as early as the 1840s, the primary system as we know it today did not begin to develop until around 1900 and by 1917 all but four states had adopted the popular primary for statewide nominations. The 17th Amendment brought the selection of United States Senate to a popular vote, before this the U.S. House of Representatives appointed the Senate by caucus.

For the presidential contest, however, primaries fell into disfavor and were generally used in fewer than 20 states. It was not until the 1970s, that states adopted primaries elections. The parties chose the state where the conventions will take place making the convention a lucrative venture to raise campaign money for the party and the city of choice for the convention.

The importance of presidential primaries is due to the hype of media where the success of a candidate is increased by the advantage in publicity and private campaign funding it draws.

The creation of barrier laws has always been the means for the national parties to keep a power over the primary and introduce tactics meant to exclude and discourage as many adversary groups from voting as they can. The exclusion of Independent candidates by delaying the filing of their intent papers until after the primary is a barrier law and needs to be challenged as it contradicts multi constitutional amendments, and federal law.

The merits of open versus closed primaries have been widely debated. Proponents of open primaries argue that voters should be able to choose which primary they will vote in at each election. Opponents argue against open primaries that would allow participation of independents that are unwilling to declare a party affiliation; to have an influence in the selection of a candidate from their party.

This I personally agree with the party argument. Why should a voter that will not support the party be able to influence the selection of a party that they have no loyalty too, but in the same tone why should the organized parties exclude independents from selecting from a pool of independent candidates? The myth that a voter must belong to a party to vote in the primary is only maintained by a barrier law that schedules independent candidates from filing intent papers until after the primary. Not designating party preference is an intellectual preference and should not invalidate or reduce independent voting rights to simply a confirmation of the candidates the two parties chose in the Primary?

Independent voters have the right to privacy that wish to keep their affiliation private and why should the exercise of 5th Amendment right to privacy be a reason for the state and national parties to exclude independents from assembling to select representatives in a publicly funded primary election??? In fact the forced disclosure to participate in open elections violates independents rights to privacy.

The election option I am endorsing in Pennsylvania is not an open election process or even a blanket primary as used in Washington State or the equivalent Majority Electoral system used in Louisiana. In fact I do not agree with the open election process requiring a voter to select only from the two party candidates.

There is no constitutional requirement to belong to a party to run or vote in a primary election. If a person wants to designate themselves to a party preference it is their right to do so. If a party does not want voters not willing to designate preference to their party to participate in their candidate selection – then that too is the parties right.

But the parties do not control or decide who can run or vote and the states cannot protect the parties 1st Amendment right to assemble while disregarding the individual the right to assemble as independents. The state must provide an independent ballot in 2018 because constitutional and federal laws substantiate that the states have no authority to exclude independents from running on an independent ballot exclusive to independent candidates.

The election form I am representing is that the democrats vote in a closed primary. The republicans vote in a closed primary and Independents vote in a closed primary. There would be three ballots instead of two. In this form of election process the end would result in a democrat, a republican and an Independent running off in the November general election while maintaining party pedigree.

In what way would Independent voting in the 2018 primary under this type of closed election process would obstruct the national party’s right to select representatives of their own? Debates are already held by private organizations that invite potential candidates to deliver their platform, debate and give the public the ability to assess the candidate. Independents are excluded from this public forum until they are certified by the state as qualified and eligible and under current enforced primary barrier law, independents cannot file their paper work to substantiate this requirement until after the primary election.

There is no requirement to belong to a party to participate in a debate held by independent organizations. The only barrier for independents to participate in the debate process is that until they are declared eligible and qualified candidates by the state; independents cannot announce their candidacy nor can they begin to collect signatures to be placed on the primary ballot and currently that can’t be done until after the primary.

It is the debate process that is the only part of the primary that the parties have control over. The rest is regulated and under the control of the state and the state must follow Constitutional and Federal Law. First Amendment, 14the Amendment, 1965 voters rights act, 5th Amendment privacy, all imply the state of Pennsylvania and other states are in violation by excluding Independent candidates from being balloted on an independent ticket as individuals represented a platform.

PART III

DEBUNKING THE MYTH

A voter or candidate must belong to a party to vote or run in the primary;

Supreme Court decision affirmed that primaries fall under the first amendment protection right to assemble and the First Amendment has no stipulation or requirement guaranteeing exclusivity of assembly to groups or party. It is as much the right for independents and individuals to assemble as it is for any group or party.

With the support of the 1st Amendment Independents have all the right to run in the primary as individuals in assembly and neither the states nor the parties have any authority to stop this. The only requirement that exiles independent voters and candidates from the primary is an operation statute that forces the independent candidate to wait until after the primary to substantiate their eligibility and qualification.

Myth 2

Suggest that the state Board of Elections can make any law in regards to the election process;

The 14th Amendment restricts the states to making laws only in regards to elections to age, residence and citizenship.

The 1965 voters right Act makes it illegal for a state to enforce intellectual barrier laws that target select portions of the population preventing them from voting and the statute being used is in obvious contradiction of both the 1965 Voter’s Right’s Act and both the 14th and 1st Amendment’s.

The 5th Amendment guarantees a voter the right to privacy and any state law or constitutional amendment that requires a voter to designate a political preference to vote violates this protection. The right to refute party designation is not a disqualification to choosing representatives. The state is punishing the independent voter and candidate from seeking public office by insisting they abandon their constituted right under their First Amendment right to assemble and to vote.

This now brings into the argument the 9th Amendment that addresses rights, retained by the people that are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution. How many constitutional challenges and Federal Law breaches does it take to make the State comply and allow Independent Voters to vote and run as candidates in the 2018 primary election???

Myth 3

The primary elections are paid for by the Parties;

Congress appropriates upward of 100 million dollars to cover the expense of the two party conventions. The two parties receive grants of $18,248,300 funded through the Presidential Election Campaign Check-off from tax returns which began in 1976. Candidates agree to spending limits in exchange for tens of millions of dollars in federal matching funds to finance their campaigns.

MYTH 4

The primary is only for party run offs;

If so then why can’t the Libertarian Party run off candidates in the primary election? The Libertarian Party has met all the credential required to have their party listed on all 50 state ballots – but only in the general election. WHY???

Because each state has the same barrier law enforced that requires independent candidates to wait until after the primary to file qualification and prove eligibility to run for public office.

The function of a primary is to narrow the field of candidates and make the general election more concise. As the process stands the primary denies independents from this purpose and in the general election there can be up to five candidates running for the same office and this diminishes the independent vote.

For independents to run off in the primary would concentrate the independent vote – and is the most likely reason for the two parties to obstruct the independent nominee from participating in the primary. The device to exclude independent from participating in the primary elections is to retain the power over the selection of officials.

The people have wanted a third choice and the parties insist it must come from an organized third party – but that’s not what the Constitution requires. Individuals have the right to assemble and participate in the primary not as castaway voters but as legitimate, eligible and qualified voters engaged in the support of eligible and qualified independent candidates. This is the goal.

I am not endorsing an open or blanket system of primary election here in Pennsylvania. I believe open election systems insinuate that our fundamental voting rights have been reduced to privileges granted by government and the two major parties. The party primary and convention methods are direct descendants of the progressive movement to install a party dominated political system and since the 1970’s have used party agenda to set international trends that have been in contradiction to the domestic interest.

The introduction of independent candidates to the primary election process will be a positive direction and will return the American political system from the debate of party rhetoric to the candidate platform. Jobs, Health Care, retirement, education to include state and foreign policy need objectivity and the tunnel vision of the national parties have eroded our place as leaders as the two parties commingle to sell off American resources for their own purpose and benefit.

It is for the party to support the candidate and not for the party to puppeteer the candidate. The inclusion of independents in the primary election will bring back the strength of free elections to the voter by virtue of candidate platform.

PART IV

What is a Qualified and Eligible Candidate

The qualifying standards to run for office are stated in the Federal Constitution for all federal offices. Article I for congressional officials and Article II for presidential and vice president.

The qualifying standards for state office are found in that states Constitution. Townships and boroughs may set their own qualifications as long as they do not exceed constitutional limitations, usually residence, citizenship, and age.

When an individual decides to run for office the first thing they must do is file intent papers. The intent papers are to demonstrate to the state that you hold all the qualifications to run for a particular office. Which are age, residence and citizenship – political and religious preferences are not part of the qualification package. Neither is education or political experience. There are no drug tests or psychological testing for qualification. Once the state accepts your application you are an eligible and qualified candidate. From there you’re pretty much on your own.

The next step is getting your name on the ballot. This requires the candidate to collect the required amount of signatures which you learn when you file your intent papers and will depend on the office you are running for. It can be as little as 10 signatures for a local office to as much as 300 signatures for state up to 10,000 signatures for a national office and even more for the office of President.

You must collect the signature and file them by the deadline set by the state. If you fail to do this you will not be listed on the ballot and this becomes a great disadvantage.

Failing to meet the signature requirement does not disqualify you as an eligible and qualified candidate. The intent papers and nomination papers are not synonymous. The nomination papers are only to secure your name to the ballot. If you fail to do this you can still run as a write-in candidate. You are legally allowed to participate in the debate process. The problem arises when most organizations miss-assume that because you are not on the ballot you are not a qualified and eligible candidate and will deny you access to their debate. I experienced this in the 2012 election for 4th district. YOU are still a viable candidate to participate in debates and to be (by some miracle) elected to office –which has happened. Until you file a withdrawal notification to the state you are still recognized by the state as a candidate. Not being on the ballot does not invalidate you as a candidate.

There should be a set of guides available by the state and accessible to private organizations that intend to hold public debates and meet your candidate events. And the most crucial information to include in the requirements of eligibility and qualification to include that write – in candidates that have filed intent papers with the state but failed to obtain the required amount of signatures to be on the ballot do have the right to participate in the debate to include the primary elections because being on the ballot is not a requirement to substantiate eligibility or qualification to run for office. That is why all official ballots maintain a category for write-in candidates.

Filed Under: No Affiliation Alliance Voter News

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